WISBECH: Officialdom calls time on Muppet Inn's plans for some summer cheer
PUBLISHED: 19:11 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 08:32 02 June 2010
EXCLUSIVE BY Maggie Gibson A PUB landlord s efforts to offer customers a continental café style service of tables outside in the sunshine has landed him in trouble. Fenland District Council has called time on Robert Mulholland s idea to provide customers
BY Maggie Gibson
A PUB landlord's efforts to offer customers a continental café style service of tables outside in the sunshine has landed him in trouble.
Fenland District Council has called time on Robert Mulholland's idea to provide customers at The Muppet Inn with two tables outside his Wisbech pub on sunny Sunday afternoons.
Mr Mulholland says he first put tables outside the Market Place pub last year during Rose Fair but received a letter from the council threatening to close him down if he did not remove the two tables and eight chairs.
This year he says he wrote to the council's market manager asking for permission to put out the tables and chairs. However, he was told in a reply that it was not the council's responsibility to give permission.
Mr Mulholland said: "I wanted to provide this for my customers. With relaxed opening hours the Government were keen for us to offer European style outside facilities but now I could be closed down for doing it.
"I feel as if I am banging my head against a brick wall and I have been told by the council they will see me in court if I do it again. I am more than angry because there are benches near the pub where people sit drinking, I am being unfairly victimised. It is only for a few hours on a Sunday when there is no traffic and it is not causing any obstruction. I can't get any answers from anyone."
The Wisbech Standard took up Mr Mulholland's case with Cambridgeshire County Council who confirmed it is illegal to trade on the highway but said Mr Mulholland should approach the district council who could apply for the highway to be designated as an area licensed to trade.
A county council spokesman said: "We want to encourage trade in Wisbech and I am sure there is a way forward with this. We have not received any complaints about the tables causing an obstruction.
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